Anti-globalisation protesters demonstrate against WTO summit

Protestors carrying a poster reading "All united against WTO" during the demonstrations Keystone

More than 5,000 people in Geneva have protested against a summit of the World Trade Organisation in Qatar.

This content was published on November 10, 2001 - 17:40

The march, which was part of a series of worldwide demonstrations against the WTO, ended peacefully in front of the organisation's headquarters in Geneva. Its aim was to denounce the Doha summit, which protesters say could lead to increased economic liberalisation.

"Governments have taken refuge in Doha because they are afraid of the people who elected them," said Fernand Cuche, secretary of the Swiss farmers' syndicate, Uniterre.

Cuche said the struggle would be "long" and appealed to farmers and city dwellers alike to unite in their fight against "being gobbled up by the multinationals."

"We are not against discussions on international exchanges," Cuche said. "But we want to recapture democratic powers so that we can choose the kind of life we want."

Riot fears

Fearing the worst, Geneva's authorities called in police in full riot gear to monitor the demonstration. Security forces sealed off the city's banking quarter, as well as the access to the WTO's headquarters.

Many stores along the procession route closed briefly in fear of trouble. McDonalds hired extra security staff to guard their restaurants - usually a popular target for anti-globalisation protesters.

During a similar demonstration in Geneva three years ago, vandals operating under the cover of the protests clashed violently with security forces, causing heavy damage.

swissinfo with agencies

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